"Indeed it was on South African soil that Mahatmaji founded and embraced the philosophy of Satyagraha," Nelson Mandela said.india Updated: Sep 30, 2006 18:30 IST
"I recall particularly one experience that changed the course of my life. Seven days after I had arrived in South Africa the client who had taken me there asked me to go to Pretoria from Durban. It was not an easy journey.
On the train I had a first-class ticket, but not a bed ticket. At Maritzburg, when the beds were issued, the guard came and turned me out. The train steamed away leaving me shivering in cold. Now the creative experience comes there. I was afraid for my very life. I entered the dark waiting room.
There was a white man in the room. I was afraid of him. What was my duty; I asked my self. Should I go back to India, or should I go forward, with God as my helper and face whatever was in store for me? I decided to stay and suffer. My active non-violence began from that day."
- Mahatma Gandhi, on the most creative experience of his life
"The oldest existing political organisation in South Africa, the Natal Indian Congress, was founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1894.
He became its first secretary and in 21 years of his stay in South Africa we were to witness the birth of ideas and methods of struggle that have exerted an incalculable influence on the history of the peoples of India and South Africa. Indeed it was on South African soil that Mahatmaji founded and embraced the philosophy of Satyagraha."
- Nelson Mandela in a letter from prison in 1980
"... We regard Nelson Mandela as one of the foremost proponents of freedom - freedom of man. We regard him also a friend of India. We admire him. We have honoured him as one of our own heroes and our thoughts are often with him and his family..."
- PM Indira Gandhi, in an address to the African Students Association in New Delhi, January 11, 1982
"Our common hope of success will depend on our ability to act together. We are reassured that we can count on India as our strategic partner in this historic endeavour which seeks to give birth to a new world order of just and lasting world peace, of prosperity for all peoples and equality among nations."
– President Thabo Mbeki
"This is the time when all the non-white people of South Africa, and even those sections among the whites who oppose apartheid should close their ranks and fight unitedly to vanquish the racist policies. The people of India will be with them."
- Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, in a statement on August 16, 1985